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If you apply for an EB2 NIW visa, your eligibility for US permanent residency can be confirmed based on advanced degrees or skills without employer sponsorship. The EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) visa category allows foreign nationals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability in their field to obtain permanent residency in the US without the need for employer sponsorship. The NIW waives the job offer and labor certification requirements typically necessary for other employment-based visas.

Cost Details of EB2 NIW Visa

The cost of the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) visa varies depending on several factors, including application fees, attorney fees, and other expenses such as travel and medical exams. Here is a breakdown of the main costs associated with the EB-2 NIW visa:

  • USCIS Filing Fees

    The filing fee for Form I-140, which is the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, is currently $700 as of September 2021. This fee is subject to change, so it is important to check the current fees at the time of application.

  • Premium Processing Fee

    If you choose to expedite your application processing, you can pay an additional premium processing fee of $2,500, guaranteeing a response from USCIS within 15 calendar days.

  • Attorney Fees

    The fees charged by immigration attorneys for preparing and filing an EB-2 NIW petition vary widely, depending on their experience and expertise. Attorney fees can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands.

  • Additional Expenses

    Other expenses associated with the EB-2 NIW visa application may include translation services, travel expenses for attending interviews or medical exams, and other miscellaneous costs.

It is important to note that these costs are subject to change and may vary depending on individual circumstances. It is recommended to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to get an accurate estimate of the costs associated with the EB-2 NIW visa application.

EB2 NIW Application Process

  1. Determine Eligibility. The first step is determining if you are eligible for the EB-2 NIW visa. You must have an advanced degree or exceptional ability in your field, and your presence in the United States must be in the country's national interest.
  2. File Form I-140. Your U.S. employer or you, if self-petitioning, must file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with USCIS. The form includes information about the employer and the foreign national and supporting documentation to prove eligibility.
  3. Prepare a Petition Letter. You must also prepare a petition letter demonstrating how your work and achievements are in the national interest of the United States. The letter should include your education, work experience, publications, awards, and other evidence of your exceptional ability or contribution to your field.
  4. Gather Supporting Documentation. You will need to gather supporting documentation, such as academic degrees, professional licenses, letters of recommendation, and evidence of your achievements in your field.
  5. Submit the Application. Once you have prepared the required forms and documentation, you can submit your application to USCIS. You can also expedite your application processing by paying an additional premium fee.
  6. Attend an Interview. If USCIS requires an interview, you must attend the interview at a USCIS office. The interview is an opportunity for USCIS to ask questions about your background, achievements, and qualifications.
  7. Receive a Decision. After USCIS reviews your application and supporting documentation, you will receive a decision on your EB-2 NIW visa application. If approved, you can proceed with the next steps to obtain permanent residency in the United States.
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Key Terms for EB2 NIW Visas

  • National Interest: The term "national interest" refers to the benefits that a foreign national's presence in the United States would have for the country as a whole. In the EB-2 NIW visa context, applicants must demonstrate that their work and expertise are of national interest to the United States.
  • Advanced Degree: To be eligible for the EB-2 NIW visa, a foreign national must have advanced or equivalent field experience. This typically means a master's degree or higher, but in some cases, a bachelor's degree and extensive work experience may also qualify.
  • Exceptional Ability: Alternatively, a foreign national may qualify for the EB-2 NIW visa based on exceptional ability in their field. This refers to a level of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the field.
  • Labor Certification: The labor certification process is typically required for employment-based visas, but the EB-2 NIW waives this requirement. Labor certification is a process in which an employer must demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers available to fill a particular job and that hiring a foreign national would not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.
  • Form I-140: Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, is the form that must be filed with USCIS to petition for an EB-2 NIW visa. The form includes information about the employer and foreign national and supporting documentation to prove eligibility.

Final Thoughts on EB2 NIW Visas

The EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) visa is a great option for foreign nationals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities interested in working and living permanently in the United States. By demonstrating that their presence in the country would be of national interest, applicants can waive the usual requirement of a job offer and labor certification. This visa category can be a faster and more efficient way to obtain permanent residency than other employment-based visas.

However, the EB-2 NIW visa is a highly selective category, and the application process can be complex and challenging. It's important to understand the eligibility criteria, prepare a comprehensive petition letter and supporting documentation, and work with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure your application is as strong as possible.

Ultimately, obtaining an EB-2 NIW visa requires a combination of exceptional academic or professional achievement and a convincing argument that your presence in the United States would be of significant national interest. If you can meet these requirements and navigate the application process successfully, the EB-2 NIW visa can be an excellent pathway to permanent residency in the United States.

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